Lake Norman & Mooresville

Days Inn could be new home for shaggers

The 90 or so members of Twisters Shag Club and other fans of the state dance of the Carolinas are looking for a new place to dance and socialize each week, and they may have found a new home in a familiar location.

The club has held its weekly dance parties and many locations over the years - last year, it met at R.J. Gators Restaurant in Cornelius. But the restaurant was sold in November, and the club went looking for a new place.

So club members struck a deal with Smokin' Guns Lounge at the Days Inn in Cornelius and had a trial run dance party there on Jan. 6. Club members and others who had heard the word turned up to check out the location.

To the longtime members, this was familiar ground - the location was home to the weekly dance parties years ago, when the hotel was a Holiday Inn.

"Last Friday was intended to be a get-acquainted opportunity, and members were encouraged in advance to submit feedback to our board of directors about the venue," said Mike Rink, vice president and a founding member of the club. "The board will communicate our needs and wishes to the owner of the lounge."

Twisters is well-known among shag dancers in the Southeast for hosting the annual Fall Cyclone, a three-day, award-winning annual dancing event held in November in Mooresville. The club's dancing parties are open to anyone over age 21.

The club name refers to its first gathering place, rather than the club's style of dance. Established in 1991, Twisters Shag Club got its name from the former Twisters Bar and Dance Club.

The Carolina Shag is a style of dance that developed along the Carolinas coast in the 1930s and 40s. It is much more about more about footwork than hip-twisting. Like the jitterbug, it is a partner dance and based on six counts, but it is done to a slower beat.

And the styling differs - no bouncing, partners dance in a "slot." The focus is on the leader's footwork, rather than that of the follower.

The dance is performed to a variety of styles of music - country, rhythm and blues, blues, rock and ballads for example. The music needs to be in the 115-130 beats per minute range. Experienced DJs will adjust a particular tune to play within that range.